Major grocery chain Albertsons is making the overdose drug Narcan available over the counter. As of late last year, Albertsons’ pharmacists can dispense the Narcan drug to anyone who needs it without a doctor’s prescription. State legislatures passed a law extending Good Samaritan Protections to people who administer the drug to someone who may overdose on an opiate. With the purchase of the drug comes a counseling session from pharmacists who are trained to teach customers how to use the product.
Now available over the counter and no prescription needed is Narcan. Albertsons stores across Idaho are selling the nasal spray for $150. In some cases it’s covered by insurance. Narcan reverses the effects of opiate overdoses. Brittney Crandall is in recovery and a volunteer at Hope and Recovery Center in Pocatello. She says, "I had just shot up and totally went out. My friend called 911 they came right away and shot me up with Narcan and I woke up to them above me just waking me up saying, 'Brittney, Brittney are you okay? Are you okay?"
The 35-year-old has been in the program for a little over a year. "I've had to a lot of recovery and treatment and probation. Unfortunately I've had to learn the hard way, but I'm just going through it day by day. It's really hard to be an addict and recovery addict as well,” Crandall said.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Narcan has saved more than 26,000 lives nationwide in the past 20 years. Crandall says, "People who are addicts, don't really... I mean they realize they are addicts, but [they] just keep on using and they don't really care about what they're doing because they want that next fix, and make everything go away.
Crandall has beaten the odds by helping others who are recovering addicts. She says, "I feel like I can move mountains when I'm staying sober, and just being involved in different things in my recovery and I love helping others."
Opioid abuse continues to be a growing epidemic in the United States and when dealing with an overdose, every second matters. "If it wasn't for that I would not be here today. I remember how serious it was when I woke up to that and I just thought to myself 'Oh my gosh, I almost died,' because of the strength of the heroin. Narcan can save lives."
Hope and Recovery officials in Pocatello say they have recovery coaches available at the center who are willing to go with anyone to Albertsons to buy the Narcan drug. Alessandra Toscanelli is the Program Director and Recovery Coach at Hope and Recovery. She says, "We also want to let people know... that shame in asking for it can easily be removed by coming into Hope and Recovery and having a recovery coach go with them and help facilitate that."
The center is open Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They also hold their peer support day meetings on Saturdays as well. Officials of the center can be reached via number at 208-417-1749. The center is located at 210 East Center Street Suite D Pocatello, Idaho 83204.